Van der Graaf Generator — Trisector
(Virgin CDV 3046, 2008, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2009-07-01Van der Graaf Generator has been getting attention from the mainstream press during their recent UK tour, much of it positive and respectful. I have a feeling Trisector will help in that regard. While some songs exude the sort of prog rock intricacies exemplified in “Interference Patterns” with its Gentle Giant-like polyphony, others — like the opening instrumental “The Hurlyburly” — seem born out of a garage band ethos, loaded with a sweaty grit that’s sure to maintain VdGG’s status as progressive rock’s best non-prog group. For fans, hearing Hugh Banton’s organ, Guy Evan’s deft kit work, and Peter Hammill’s trademark vocal is like enjoying a fine, vintage wine. The absence of David Jackson’s sax and flute is definitely felt in places, like the emotive “Lifetime” or the extroverted rocker “All That Before.” One can almost fill in the empty spaces with Jackson’s playing and the album would have been better for it. But Trisector succeeds anyways because the songs — quirky, angular, and eccentric as they can be — have focus. When Hammill sings “Oh, but the clock was always counting / the envelope was sealed / and as the pressure’s mounting / still precious little is revealed” on “Over the Hill” you share his contemplation of a life spent searching for answers but consoled that he’s done his best to make sense of it all. This is progressive rock at its best — a provocative consortium of sound and word that says much more than surface impressions may imply.
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more